Press Release

Americans for Responsible Solutions Applauds the Illinois House Judiciary – Criminal Committee for Advancing Bill To Help Slow The Flow Of Illegal Guns In Illinois

May 17, 2016 –  Americans for Responsible Solutions, the national gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, and the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition today applauded the Illinois House Judiciary – Criminal Committee for advancing a new proposal, the Gun Dealer Licensing Act (HB 1016), to help slow the flow of illegal guns in Illinois, and urged legislators to act to save lives.

The bill, which was introduced earlier this month, would give state authorities and law enforcement the tools to encourage better business practices among federally licensed gun dealers and hold corrupt dealers accountable to slow the flow of illegal gun trafficking in Illinois and help keep guns out of the wrong hands. Read more about the Gun Dealer Licensing Act here.

Negligent gun dealers within Illinois fuel the illegal gun trade. From 2009 to 2013, 40 percent of the guns used in crimes in Chicago came from gun dealers within Illinois. But thanks to loopholes in federal law and a lack of federal resources for enforcement, Illinois doesn’t have the tools and authority it needs to combat illegal or negligent business practices that threaten Illinois families.

The vote in favor of the bill comes on the heels of Congresswoman Giffords’ visit to Illinois last month to help launch the new Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition and urge legislators to support the bill. The coalition, which includes gun violence prevention groups, community advocates, and faith groups, has helped lead the fight in support of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act.

“This bill will help level the playing field for gun dealers throughout Illinois by promoting commonsense business practices that will curb the in-state trafficking of illegal firearms. So we applaud leaders in Illinois for advancing a commonsense proposal that will crack down on the illegal gun trade and help keep guns out of dangerous hands,” said Robin Lloyd, State Legislative Director, Americans for Responsible Solutions. “We thank the members of the Illinois House Judiciary – Criminal Committee who supported this commonsense legislation that will hold negligent gun dealers accountable while protecting responsible dealers and the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding people. We urge the leaders in the Illinois House to follow suit and support these responsible changes to Illinois’ laws.”

“As a state, we need to do more to combat gun trafficking and keep guns out of the wrong hands. That starts with providing our state authorities with the tools they need to encourage better business practices among gun dealers, hold corrupt dealers accountable, and slow the flow of crime guns into our communities. I urge my colleagues in the House to join me in supporting this commonsense step to keep guns out of the wrong hands,” said Illinois State Representative Kathleen Willis (D-Northlake), a chief author of the legislation.

The Gun Dealer Licensing Act will help slow the the flow of illegal guns through a number of small changes to the state’s laws, including:

  • Requiring Criminal Background Checks for Gun Dealer Employees: Gun store employees often have access to huge inventories of guns and it is just common sense to make sure that the dealer and employees are just as responsible as the buyers.

  • Training and Education for Gun Dealers Employees So Our Background Check System Can Work Better:  The bill would require training to ensure that dealers and their employees know how to conduct background checks, identify and stop straw purchases, and properly store guns to prevent thefts.

  • Ensuring Gun Dealers Are Held Accountable:  IDFPR and law enforcement would have the ability to inspect the inventories of licensed gun dealers, so we can make sure gun dealers are held accountable for missing firearms.

Between 2002 – 2014, 14,273 people were killed with guns in Illinois, nearly three times the number of all U.S. combat troops killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. A person is killed with a gun in Illinois every eight hours. In 2014, 1,179 people were killed by guns in Illinois.[Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence]

Groups represented in the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition include:

ABJ Community Services

All Saints Episcopal—Chicago

Americans for Responsible Solutions

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Catholic Charities

Center for American Progress

Chicago Board of Rabbis

Chicago Survivors

Chicagoland Brady Chapter

Community of Congregations

Community Renewal Society

Countryside Unitarian Church

Emanuel Congregation

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Faith Community of St. Sabina Greater Institutional AME Church Gun Responsibility Advocates

Gun Violence Prevention PAC (G-PAC)

Howard Area Community Center

Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics

Illinois Conference of Churches

Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (ICHV)

Increase the Peace Englewood Jewish Council on Urban A airs

Joint Action Committee for Political A airs (JAC PAC)

Lake Street Church of Evanston

League of Women Voters of Illinois

Moms Rising

National Council of Jewish Women Chicago North Shore

National Gun Victims Action Council

National Youth Advocate Program

Northwest Suburbs Organizing for America

Open Communities

Organizing Catholics for Justice

Organizing for America Chicago North Chapter

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Parents for Peace and Justice

Peace & Justice Committee Episcopal Diocese of Chicago

Peaceful Communities

People for a Safer Society Presbyterian Church USA Progressive Community Church Purpose Over Pain

Quinn Chapel AME Church

Saint Joseph Anglican—Spring eld

Strengthening Chicago’s Youth

Seabury Western Theological Seminary

St. Felicitas Catholic Church

St. Francis Xavier Parish

St. Joseph Anglican

The Peace & Justice Committee of St. Edmunds

United Church of Christ United Church of Rogers Park United Methodist Church